Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends
Friends Meetings in the North Central U.S.

Spiritual Nurture

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Spiritual nurture includes all of the practices and ways that we grow in our understanding and experience of God/Spirit. It can include activities that we generally consider spiritual or religious, as well as other activities in the world. Quaker understanding of the spiritual is broad and deep, sp there are many ways for spiritual nurture.

We can find spiritual nurture in many aspects of our daily lives. We find it in nature, gardening, cultural activities such as art, theatre, music and literature, in conversation, in relationships with friends and family, daydreaming, and work for peace and justice. These activities may be planned and engaged in intentionally to nurture our spiritual lives, or that may happen spontaneously.

Who also find that as we desire to grow more deeply in the life of the Spirit, that we are drawn to intentional spiritual practices. In our local Quaker Meetings the cornerstone is our meeting for worship, where we engage in a corporate or community endeavor to experience God/Spirit present among us. Silence and vocal ministry can both nurture us. Our experience in meeting for business and committees helps us to grow as we learn to discern the Spirit present in our work together. Adult religious education provides further opportunities to grow. Our First Day Schools and intergenerational activities provide opportunities for spiritual nurture for our children, and for them to nurture us. Some Meetings have formed spiritual nurture groups where members commit to some form of spiritual practice and share their journeys and progress together.

Northern Yearly Meeting has also provided ways for spiritual nurture. NYM has had a Spiritual Nurture subcommittee of its Ministry and Nurture Committee which has offered nurture in a variety of contexts. For a number of years the Subcommittee offered an annual weekend retreat. The retreats led to the formation of a number of spiritual nurture groups in local Meetings, and correspondence groups for Friends who were scattered across the Yearly Meeting. In recent years it has offered to go to Meetings to facilitate all-day retreats in their locality. These retreats led to the formation of further spiritual nurture groups. The Subcommittee has also has also offered workshops at Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions.

The Subcommittee has recently been laid down and the responsibility for spiritual nurture is back with the overall Ministry and Nurture Committee. Former members of the Subcommittee are available to assist with programs for spiritual nurture as they arise. We want to hear from the Northern Yearly Meeting community about ways that we can provide spiritual nurture for our members, attenders, and Meetings. we also want to hear about ways that members and attenders can contribute to spiritual nurture of our wider community.